Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Teenage Boredom: Driver Beware!

From about the age of 12 until I was 16, my circle of fellow Juvenile Delinquents would invent ways to harass motorists that happen past our neighboorhood. Needless to say, we thought this was totally harmless and that no one would get hurt by our antics. Of course, if our own children had tried these stunts, we'd have beat them senseless!

I suppose you could rate these acts from sublime to totally ridiculous! Let's start with an easy one. Several boys would stand on opposite sides of a street,facing each other in a straight line. When a car would approach within eye contact of us, we would pretend we were pulling on a rope from each side, like an imaginary Tug-Of-War. The driver would usually slam on their brakes thinking they were going to run into a rope. We'd bust out in laughter and cover our mouths with our hands and point at the duped driver. They would usually drive off, realizing they had just been made a fool of by some young Punks.

Next was our Dancing String Caper. We would tie a string across the street at about waist level, between a telephone pole and a sign or fire hydrant. All along the length of string, we would hang assorted items. Whatever we could find nearby: leaves, twigs, an old glove, a small potato chip bag, dog poop(don't ask!), etc. As the unsuspecting driver would approach, it would usually be too late to stop by the time they saw these things magically dancing in front of them on the road. Again, the sound of screeching tires usually ensued, often followed by a,"You Little Sons A Bitches!", yelled out a car window.

Winter in The Youngstown area was often brutal in the late 60's. Being on the edge of The Snow Belt and the famous Lake Effect Snow Storms, it wasn't uncommon to get a foot of the White Stuff at a time. Somehow, I seldom remember schools closing. You put on your boots and trudged up the street in the tire tracks of passing vehicles. The more adventurist members of our group would latch a hold of a rear bumper of a slow-moving car and get pulled up the street or more often, dragged untill he decided to let go. I know, I know! Stupid wasn't the name for that stunt!

The snow also created our favorite ammunition, Snowballs! Many a unsuspecting motorist was pelted by my fellow misguided youths from the confines of Fifth Street Park. The park was about the size of a football field and lead into a woods with many outlets on to different streets. A perfect place for The Old Hit-n-Run! Hit a car with a snowball and run like Hell through the woods if they stopped. The more inventive of our gang would wear Baseball Spikes. The better the traction when running on snow and ice.

If we REALLY wanted a challenge, we would move to a field near my house known as "The Pines", an abandoned nursery. Knowing that no one would catch us in our Baseball Cleats, all cars became Fair Game. even those full of older teenage boys. We knew we were "Dead Meat" if we got caught, adding to the thrill. Only this time, we would hide deep under the huge pine trees,instead of trying to out run the much older boys. We always did this at night, relying on the cover of darkness to conceal us. When we felt that our persuers were far enough away, we'd yell out insults making them even madder and more determined to try and find us. It was like a game of Chicken and we never did get caught. Too bad, somebody really needed to teach us a lesson.


  1. Ahhhhh....memories of Halloween tricks!

  2. There's a uTube video - series of them actually - where these guys do your first trick - pretending that they're stretching a rope across a roadway. It's hilarious. I thought they invented that. Should have known someone like you and your friends thought it up a long time ago, Tom!

    The moral of this story (blog) is that stuff that used to be fun is now illegal.